KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — They met on Market Square when Pierce Corcoran asked if he could pet Jade Adams’s dog. From that second on, they were inseparable.
"It’s kind of not hit me yet that I lost my best friend," said Jade, Pierce's girlfriend. "From day one, I saw him every day. The one day I didn’t see him, the end of our streak, was because he died."
It’s been nearly two weeks since Jade and Pierce were driving down Chapman Highway that fateful December night.
She does not remember much about the crash. She only remembers seeing her boyfriend fighting for his life as they both lay injured in the grass on the side of the highway.
"The first time looking at his car, I screamed his name," said Jade. "I screamed go help him, go help him."
Bystanders rushed to help.
Paramedics showed up soon after. Both were taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center.
Jade is an ER technician, working in the same room where her boyfriend would succumb to his injuries.
She remembers the exact moment doctors told her Pierce had died.
"Whenever I got into the ambulance and they said that we’re going to UT Medical ER, I had no words for that connection. I had no words for seeing my boyfriend lie there where I work every day," said Jade. "The trauma doctor came up to me and I just remember him saying we did everything we could, I’m sorry but Pierce did not make it. I remember screaming. Not just crying, I remember at the top of my lungs whaling for 10 or 12 minutes straight."
Jade lay in the hospital with a fractured nose, fractures in her back, and a partially collapsed lung. Her mind was on Pierce.
"It’s something I just never thought I’d have to experience or go through or be a part of. It’s hard, it’s hard," said Jade.
Wendy and DJ Corcoran are now learning to live without their son.
More than a thousand people showed up for Pierce’s funeral. The number who have reached out to offer condolences far surpasses that.
"He was 22 years old. He still had a lot of life to live and was really just maturing, growing as a man," said Wendy Corcoran. "Pierce would have been just blown away by the love for us. We couldn’t get through it without it."
Life is fragile. The difference between life and death is often as wide as a double yellow line running down the middle of a highway. For all who loved Pierce Corcoran, what’s left now is to never forget.
Pierce Corcoran kept a journal.
The first quote etched into the first page read “my actions still matter.” For Jade, it’s become a quote to live by.
"The only thing that is keeping me together is family and the community and his friends," said Jade. "He never treated anyone the way that they didn’t deserve to be treated, especially me. And so I just want you to remember him, remember Pierce."
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